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Painted Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia fucosa)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Painted Lichen Moth



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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The Painted Lichen Moth warns predators with its alarming colors while its larval form feeds on the slow-growing lichens across the continent.



Updated: 05/28/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Painted Lichen Moths are orange and black, a classic warning color combination for would-be predators. They somewhat resemble Lightening Bugs, which are also toxic to eat. This species looks a lot like its relative, the Scarlet-Winged Lichen Moth. Painted Lichen Moths have the unusual ability to 'hear'. They have hearing organs on their thorax and can make high-frequency sounds themselves. This may be useful in both communicating for mating purposes as well as warding off flying predators, like bats. Females also emit pheromones to attract males.

Caterpillars are not similarly colored. They are brownish-black with yellow speckling. They are also covered in spines. To further protect themselves, they flick their fecal material far from themselves in order to obscure their actual location. Caterpillars feed on lichens found on tree trunks, stones, and even buildings. Lichens are a symbiotic organism: part fungus, part algae or bacteria. The two organisms work together and enhance their ability to survive and thrive. The fungus offers structure and water collection abilities; the algae or bacteria photosynthesize sunlight to create food. Lichens are typically slow-growing, spreading over a surface at a rate of about 1 cm a year. This is a popular food source for the Painted Lichen caterpillar, but it has also been seen eating its smaller siblings and pupae. There are advantages to being the firstborn in almost every species.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Hypoprepia
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            Species: fucosa
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hypoprepia fucosa
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 35mm (0.98" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, black, red
Descriptors: line, stripe, vein, flying, lightening, cannibal
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 25mm and 35mm
Lo: 25mm
Md: 30mm
Hi: 35mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
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State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
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State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Painted Lichen Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Painted Lichen Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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